FT tries out the latest wellness treatments
Don’t worry, Indigo Float cleans its sensory deprivation tanks between uses.
After a week of indulgence (OK, overindulgence) during vacation I was ready to rid my body of some toxins, which is what the infrared sauna at CYL Sauna Studio purported to do. These saunas, which use infrared light to heat the body from within instead of heating the surrounding air, aren’t new, but as franchise concepts are popping up in greater numbers as they ride the wellness wave. CYL isn’t a medical franchise, and it doesn’t pretend to be, but the concept touts numerous health benefits such as pain relief, improved circulation, skin rejuvenation and even wound healing, claims I’d want to research further before signing up—and spending money on—a full membership. A 30-minute sweat costs $30. At the Dallas location, which is styled much like an upscale boutique fitness studio, private rooms contain personal infrared sauna pods. After sliding in sans clothes and pulling the top panel of the pod up to my neck (yes, it’s a little coffin-esque), I relaxed on a comfortable, anti-microbial foam pad layered with towels—and then I waited. Within five minutes beads of sweat formed and quickly became little rivers as my body warmed and absorbed the heat. By the time my 30 minutes were up I was drenched and enjoying that feeling of having just worked out—but without the workout.
The upshot: While one sweat might not yield all the supposed benefits, the experience was absolutely relaxing. One not-so-great surprise, however, was the lack of post-sweat showers, something I’m sure my Uber driver did not appreciate. —LM
After checking in at Indigo Float, the sensory deprivation tank franchise designed to reduce anxiety, improve sleep and ease aches and pains, two front desk workers led me down a hallway lit with extraterrestrial blue lights to a private room with a mermaid shell-looking empty tank and a shower. Each tank is drained and refilled between each float—whew— so you’re not floating in someone else’s water. After a quick shower while water and Epsom salts filled the pod, I slipped into the tank and immediately wished I’d realized how many paper cuts I had and used the provided petroleum jelly to shield them from the salt water. Ouch. The water was slightly warmer than body temperature, and a floaty was there for neck or lower back support. Bird sounds and light music played, but as I tried to relax, I kept drifting from side to side, making it difficult to feel centered in more ways than one. I also made the mistake of not wearing the provided ear plugs—I could still feel water in my ears days later. After the float, I did notice less pain in my lower back. I also felt wonderfully relaxed, as if I just had an entire spa day.
The upshot: Online booking makes it easy to get your float on ($59 for first-timers, $89 for future floats), and you may feel some pain relief after. Just remember to check for paper cuts. —CE
A clean, welcoming lobby at Modern Acupucture helps dispel a fear of needles.
I’m not a big fan of needles, so when I pulled up to Modern Acupuncture, I wasn’t sure if the whole experience would relax me as advertised or make me an anxious (and skewered) ball of nerves. Walking in, the serene vibes and the clinically clean lobby were certainly comforting. This isn’t one of those back-alley acupuncture studios, if those exist. After being led into the “Zen Den,” I deposited my belongings and crawled into a comfy easy chair. I snuck a quick photo of the den, but gave up on my hopes of a punctured selfie. When the therapist walked over to my curtained stall, one of about 10, she had a frightening handful of needles at the ready. She wasted no time, peeling back wrapping and puncturing away in my ears, the side of my neck, wrists and shins. Like she and everyone else said, it was mostly painless, with just a little poke of an ultra-thin acupuncture needle. She talked through a couple of the pressure points, and said to raise my hand if I felt any discomfort. After just a few minutes, a warm sensation of calm trickled through me. Thirty minutes later the therapist was back to remove the needles and offer me some hot green tea.
The upshot: Walk-in appointments are just $59, with a $30 first-time discount. While I felt a little odd the rest of the day, after a really hard sleep I was back at it. As for my shoulders, they weren’t sore until my next deadline. —NU